The first resume I ever really wrote was when I was 18. I’d had a few jobs prior to this but they never required one. I simply filled out the application and they accepted me. But at 18 I was graduated from high school, my father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and I needed a real job. In other words, I needed a resume.
Being a writer by nature, I knew what I needed to say to fit the position. I instinctively knew what they wanted me to say and what keywords were necessary. I wrote my resume entirely for the positions I was applying, altering each to fit what they said they wanted in an employee. I mirrored this tactic in my interviews and eventually, I got a job for a bank with full benefits and fair pay.
While all of these traits make me well qualified to help people with their own resumes and interviews and pay raises, I lost something vital in doing this my entire working life… I lost the ability to know what it was I wanted in a job. I looked to fit myself to a position and tell myself it was for the best. I weighed stability and importance over risk and happiness. And once you’ve found the comfort of a nice paycheck and benefits, it is extremely difficult to go backwards. Every time I think about a new career path, it feels like starting over. Like I have wasted years. I really despise that feeling.
So, who do you write your resume for? Who does it belong to?
The answer is both simple and complex.
The simplicity is that, of course it belongs to your potential new employer. You want to write it so you define your strengths in the position you are applying for. You want to write it so that you get the job.
At the same time, it belongs to you. It is you. Getting the job won’t change that. You can use all the keywords, all the experience you would like, but if the job doesn’t fit the resume you write for yourself, you may find the job isn’t really for you in the first place.
So, that’s the catch isn’t it.
Now, at 29 I still try to tailor my resume, especially with all the bots that will only let certain keywords through, but I’ve learned that I can’t give away happiness or stability. I have to have my own standards, my own spin and the company I’m applying for needs to see a bit of that so they’re prepared when we meet.
My advice is to write a resume entirely for you.
Write your strengths as you see them. Your job description based on the things you like and are good at. Your objection statement for what you are actually looking for.
Then when you find a job you’re interested in, pay attention to what you’re changing or adjusting on your resume. Are the skills/qualification completely opposite than what you already have listed? Do you feel like your adjusted resume is a different person than your original? If you do, then that job probably isn’t for you, no matter how good you think it looks on paper.